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'Fresh and Local' Bed-Stuy Grocery Will Take Over Popular Food Buying Club

By Paul DeBenedetto | July 25, 2014 11:22am | Updated on July 28, 2014 8:53am
 Inside Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local, at 210 Patchen Ave. The healthy grocery will take over control of food-buying club Bed-Stuy Bounty this summer.
Inside Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local, at 210 Patchen Ave. The healthy grocery will take over control of food-buying club Bed-Stuy Bounty this summer.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A market that provides "fresh and local" groceries to Bed-Stuy residents is taking over a popular neighborhood food-buying club this summer.

Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local, a partly-crowdfunded grocery at 210 Patchen Ave., will take control of Bed-Stuy Bounty, a two-year-old food-buying club that allows members to purchase goods in bulk directly from local farmers.

Bounty brings the food to a neighborhood collection point, but hasn't had a permanent base before.

The club's move to a brick-and-mortar location will help it grow, its founder and local food activist Melissa Danielle said.

"In order for it to get better, it needs more members," Danielle said. "And in order for it to get more members, it needs more visibility."

Danielle decided to transition the club to the market in order to focus on other things in her life, she said.

"I haven't really traveled anywhere in the past few years," she said. "I really want to do something different."

The 78-member club is just the latest addition to the shop, which recently expanded meat from local farms and produce from GrowNYC and was approved to accept benefits cards, Fresh and Local's co-owner Sheila Akbar said.

Akbar, who owns the store with boyfriend Dylan Ricards, said it has largely been a success despite a slow start after last year's government shutdown jeopardized funding from government groups like the Small Business Association.

"We started this without really any experience," Akbar said. "We're discovering all of these crazy talents."

Those talents included woodworking — Ricards designed and built out the store's interior — and gardening, the latter of which helped make Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local a finalist for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's greenest storefront in Brooklyn.

The owners said they hope the buying club helps the shop evolve even further, eventually turning into a food co-op.

"It's going to take a long time to get there," Akbar said. "But this is a great way to start the motion."